When was the last time that a mainstream Hindi film returned to rural settings? Space for rural setting in the mainstream Hindi film had been vacated for Bhojpuri films, and Hindi films had become urbanesque. But with WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR the earthy flavor of the country seems to be returning. For Shreyas Talpade, it indeed in fortuitous that after OM SHANTI OM he is again enacting a role where he is playing a character from the Hindi belt along with Amrita Rao. It is difficult to recognize her and associate her with the past image; such has been the transformation in Amrita Rao for the role in WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR.
Art of letter writing has been a motif on which quite a lot of Hindi films have been made and letters have formed the props, but after the advent of the instant messaging and the e-mails letter writing simply went into oblivion. Letter writing, as a matter of fact formed an integral part of the localized Diaspora, when the migration started happening in search of employment to different parts of the country leaving the family behind at the native place. All the metropolitan centres therefore had professional writers as well at the local post offices, and the postman in the native place acted as the interpreter.
The theme that Shyam Benegal has picked up for WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR is unique in the sense that for the first time the role of letter writer which is being brought to main relief. Letter writers have formed an integral part of the social construct and many a secrets and stories have been buried in some corners of their heart. Shyam Benegal is trying to bring out the same. As a matter of fact it is reconstruction of history of the present times through the minor tradition in the form of letters. Once the film is released probably some historian or an academician would look into this aspect and unravel one more nuance of sociological development to the world.
Shyam Benegal needs to be applauded for this effort on his part for focusing on our traditions, which were forgotten in our quest of development.